INDUSTRIAL -- Juvenile authorities transported 23 detainees from a Kanawha County detention center to the West Virginia Industrial Home for Youth late Thursday night.
The South Central Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Dunbar -- built in 1938 -- closed its doors Thursday after its child care license expired, said Dallas Staples, associate director of the state Division of Juvenile Services.
The facility, originally built to house 19 juveniles who were awaiting court hearings, had been running under a six-month provisional license.
State officials refused to renew the license, however, after the emergence of overcrowding and other problems continued to plague the facility, Staples said.
"South Central didn't meet the license requirements and could not be updated," he said.
The detainees arrived about 11 p.m. at the newly expanded Harrison County facility.
"The transfer went through without any problems," Staples said.
Construction of a new 200-bed unit began at the Industrial Home location in October 1998 at a cost of approximately $18 million. The facility previously held a capacity of 124 youth offenders.
Construction of the new wing was completed in the fall and state officials, including Gov. Cecil Underwood, held a dedication ceremony Oct. 13. The renovated facility officially opened its doors Friday.
Manfred Holland, director of the Military Affairs Juvenile Services Division, said the facility near Salem helps to ease overcrowding problems across West Virginia.
"We're not just solving one problem here," Holland said.
Efforts are under way, however, to erect new facilities and renovate existing ones in other areas of the state.
In addition to the Industrial expansion project, a center is being built in Hampshire County. Also, an elementary school in Boone County is being renovated for a juvenile correctional center, Holland said.
Staff writer J.R. Brammer can be reached at 626-1442, or by e-mail at email@example.com.